Feb 12, 2019

The case for a higher minimum wage

The one thing that could change the low-pay, low-inflation dynamic, AFL-CIO's chief economist Bill Spriggs argues, is government intervention.

What he's saying: "Firms have decided, 'Why do I need to give you more than a 1 or 2% raise? The prices are running 1–2% higher, what's your problem?' The other problem we have is low inflationary expectations make it very hard to re-inflate the economy — you just can’t get out of the rut."

Data: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; Chart: Axios Visuals

One side: There are strong arguments against minimum wage increases. Surveys like this one co-authored by a member of the conservative American Enterprise Institute highlight the fact that in states that raised the minimum wage by at least $1, wages for low-skilled workers fell.

The other side: After 40 years of no increase in real wages, even with cost-of-living fluctuations, Americans seem willing to take that risk. Ten states began 2019 with voter-backed minimum wage increases, joining 11 states that saw legislation to increase their minimum wage in 2018, and 12 states that raised the minimum wage through legislation the year prior.

Go deeper: All calm on the wage front

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George Zimmerman sues Buttigieg and Warren for $265M

George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida, in November 2013. Photo: Joe Burbank-Pool/Getty Images

George Zimmerman filed a lawsuit in Polk County, Fla. seeking $265 million in damages from Democratic presidential candidates Pete Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren, accusing them of defaming him to "garner votes in the black community."

Context: Neither the Massachusetts senator nor the former Southbend mayor tweeted his name in the Feb. 5 posts on what would've been the 25th birthday of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed black teen Zimmerman fatally shot in 2012. But Zimmerman alleges they "acted with actual malice" to defame him.

4 takeaways from the Nevada Democratic debate

Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

The relative civility of the last eight Democratic debates was thrown by the wayside Wednesday night, the first debate to feature the billionaire "boogeyman," Michael Bloomberg, whose massive advertising buys and polling surge have drawn the ire of the entire field.

The big picture: Pete Buttigieg captured the state of the race early on, noting that after Super Tuesday, the "two most polarizing figures on this stage" — Bloomberg and democratic socialist Bernie Sanders — could be the only ones left competing for the nomination. The rest of candidates fought to stop that momentum.

Klobuchar squares off with Buttigieg on immigration

Buttigieg and Klobuchar in Las Vegas on Feb. 19. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg went after Sen. Amy Klobuchar on the debate stage Wednesday for voting to confirm Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan and voting in 2007 to make English the national language.

What she's saying: "I wish everyone was as perfect as you, Pete, but let me tell you what it's like to be in the arena. ... I did not one bit agree with these draconian policies to separate kids from their parents, and in my first 100 days, I would immediately change that."